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Mono Pass from Mosquito Flat Trailhead

A nice hike from the Sierra's highest trailhead
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 8.7 miles
Duration: Half day

Overview:  A hike to a 12,000 foot high Sierra pass, covering the gamut from lush green meadows to pristine blue lakes, from calming babbling... more »

Tips:  Dayhikes from the area are not too long or difficult, so taking a light pack is feasable. Trekking poles are optional, but we used... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Mosquito Flat Trailhead

This is the parking area and trailhead for dayhiking and backpacking the Little Lakes Valley and the John Muir Wilderness. Being at 10,255 feet, it is the highest designated trailhead in the Sierra accessible by car. So it's a good place to start if you are looking for some high elevation hikes. The trailhead is located at the end of Rock Creek... More

2. Rock Creek

Rock Creek is the final outlet stream from the Little Lakes Valley, which flows out of the valley, and eventually down to the Owens River. All of the feeder streams from the various lakes eventually make their way to Rock Creek. There are always ample photo opportunities along this creek, as well as good fishing.

3. Mono Trail

This is the first trail junction you come to after the trailhead. It is a right hand offshoot from the main trail, and begins your ascent to Mono Pass. The spur trail to Mono Pass is marked with a wooden sign.

4. Lower Trail

The lower part of the trail to Mono Pass is filled with great views of the valley below. You can see into the valley for quite a long stretch, as you ascend. You really get a sense of insignificance when you see the entire open valley below you, and the enormous jagged, sawtooth mountains in the far distance. It is quite a spectacle!

Trail... More

5. Famous Pond

Probably the most beautiful brackish pond in the whole of the Sierra! This is a semi-famous pond partway up the trail to Mono Pass, which has been photographed countless times. It is not possible to get a bad photo from this spot! On a perfectly still day without much wind, the pictures are priceless. You have to stop at this spot to take at... More

6. Upper Trail

Once you pass Ruby Lake, the trail takes a dramatic turn. Once in view of the lush green valley, you now are in a hot, dry, rocky moonscape. The trail undulates a bit before finally kicking up to Mono Pass. The scenery in this area is dramtically different, but just as scenic. Trail quality deteriorates a bit here, becoming quite loose and... More

7. Mono Pass

There is not any kind of marker designating your arrival to Mono Pass, you'll just know you've gotten there when the trail finally ceases going upward, and starts to flatten out and descend. There is one small wooden sign alerting visitors that no fires are allowed (though I don't know where you'd find any wood to burn!).

Mono Pass is a really... More

8. Summit Lake

The small Summit Lake is probably the remnants of a larger lake in the area. It is a very small, but quite picturesque lake. It would also make a nice, easy place for backpackers to set up camp, as the hike to this place is not overly difficult. It also makes a great spot to stop and have lunch.

However, it can be windy in this area though. ... More

9. Mack Lake Overlook

If you go just a few hundred feet onto the proper trail to the Little Lakes Valley (just past the Mono Trail junction), there is a very nice spot overlooking Mack Lake to take in the incredible vista of Rock Creek and the mountains in the distance.

As the trail begins to ascend onto a small granite slope, leave the trail to your left and onto... More